Category: Name Image
By Linda Rosenkrantz
For what seems like forever, this pair of sainted sister names, Agnes and Agatha, have seemed like the quintessential starched, buttoned-up, high-lace-collared, mauve-dressed Great-Great-Grandmother appellations.
I’d like to propose that we let the unbuttoning commence.
I met someone named Bea the other night and I knew instantly that I liked her.
How could I not, given how much I liked her name? To me, the name Bea feels accessible and down-to-earth yet at the same time unusual and elegant — a fantastic combination. And once my new friend Bea told me the history of her name — that her full name was Beatrice, but that her mother really wanted to name her Bridget after her grandmother, which was also my grandmother’s name — I decided we were going to be good friends.
Which set me thinking: Do you automatically like someone if you like their name? Do you find yourself positively disposed, friendlier than usual, simply on the basis of an attractive or intriguing name?
Of course, people may prove to be not as charming as their names.
by Joan Lebow
There’s always something that rudely awakens us to the reality of age. The blank stare of the 30-something at the office when I mentioned “fiddling while Rome burns.” The moment I hesitated to use the words “pay phone” to describe a telecom job on my resume. Or simply that slightly panicky feeling I’ve felt when I’ve left home without even a tiny tube of concealer in my makeup bag.
But now the veracity of my age is starkly clear to me each day in black and white. With green trim. It comes in the Sharpie scrawl on my daily cup of Starbucks.
Wherever I go and give my name, Joan, to the cashier I almost always get back “Jone” hastily written on the side. That’s J-O-N-E. Sometimes it’s Joe, or JoAne, or Joni. Always the four letter, Mitchell version. (No flower to dot the i, like the one I added in junior high.) I’ve had Jen, Jodi, Juan and John. It happens at counters near home, in Penn Station, by my Brooklyn office, in airports and far away cities.
One bit of naming advice that I see thrown around a lot is that once the baby is born no one will be able to imagine him or her with any other name than the one that was given to him. That children will always “grow” into their names even if there are times when they dislike it.
Yeah, well, that didn’t happen with me. And it wasn’t a disaster.
You’ve probably guessed that Isadora Vega is not my given name. I’ve been going by nicknames and aliases all my life, so that at one point or another my friends will ask me what my full name is. I remember when I told one of my best friends my real name, and her reaction was similar to everyone else’s:
That question summoned up an issue that simmers beneath many discussions on names: What’s the image that name conveys, and do we want to take that on for our child?
To put it more plainly, do some names carry stereotypes, positive or negative, that go beyond our individual expectations and experiences? Are you guilty of stereotyping people based on their names, and what names carry the strongest stereotypes for you?